Perfection, nigh attainable, often pursued. A fool’s errand to some, life’s purpose to others. Perfection. The erasure of flaws perhaps, or maybe the refinement of skills. Perfection is something millions have struggled for–something millions have died for. Perfection. But perfection is something that doesn’t need to be coveted–imperfections are what makes life worth living–and at the end of the day, perfection isn’t something worth dying over.

The relentless struggle towards perfection of a skill or craft is admirable, yes, but with so many twists and avenues–perfection isn’t something exactly tangible. Subjective at best, one might think a work perfect, another might think it undesirable. Take art, for example. Art is subjective–as has been toted for the past ten years in online magazines and on social media– tacky, yes. But in the same fashion, perfection is subjective too. The Mona Lisa is the zenith of art to some, scholars heralding it for its historical value. The common 20-year-old of today though, well, they might not exactly get the hype. A skilled racecar driver, in their opinion, might be the perfect driver–but not to a driving instructor. A chef in America may find their cooking skills perfected, before being blown away by chefs from other countries. Perfection is in the eye of the beholder. There is no definite “perfect,” it is not solid, not attainable–not in the eyes of all eight billion humans, anyways. Based on opinion alone, there is no true perfect. Strive for a personal best, yes, but there is no pleasing everyone.

If a person breaks, are they not perfect? A professional who cracks under pressure is fired, surely not perfect. However, some would disagree. For example, the Japanese pottery art of Kintsugi (rather simplified) aims to mend shattered pottery with gold. Gold. This is to highlight the flaws, the cracks, the breaks, with this practice imperfection is perfection. The argument here can be–and should be–extended to people as well. All people have flaws, and these flaws give way to individual beauty. These flaws are not to be hidden behind false perfection. It is ok. It is ok to fail, to over-exert, to cry, and not be perfect. Perfection isn’t real. There is no reason to hurt oneself over perfection. Grades in schools, quarterly reports, indexes, overtime– it’s all numbers and letters. Human beings are not born to be perfect. 

Human beings are born to be.

The argument is made that one must always strive for perfection. Try to be perfect, even if one can’t. This though, this enforces the aforementioned unhealthy stereotypes–it delegitimizes the fact that it’s okay to not be “100%” all the time. It’s okay to not strive for perfection all the time, there is a difference between “do your best” and “be perfect.” People need breaks, no one can be perfect–especially not all the time.

While some strive for the impossible, perfection is not a tangible thing. It shifts from one person to another–perspective to perspective. People are fickle, and people are opinionated. Relaxing is okay, flaws are okay, being yourself is okay. No matter how imperfect.